Sustainable fashion businesses like RANT Clothing are leading the way in the fight against fast-fashion wastage – find out how they’re challenging the status quo. Plus, the brilliant mind at the helm of Ethically Kate shares her top tips for making fashion choices that won’t cost the earth.
Our addiction to fast-fashion is one of the major drivers of pollution, with the industry to blame for 10% of global carbon emissions. We’ve got 100 billion clothing garments produced each year, and of that number a whopping 92 million tonnes end up in landfill. But this wasteful industry is showing no signs of slowing with a predicted 50% increase of the fashion industry’s global emissions by 2030 on the cards. One of the concerning factors is the dwindling number of times we’re re-wearing our clothes, with research showing the amount of times we use an item of clothing has decreased by 36% in just 15 years, and the numbers show the average person is wearing their clothes just 10 times before ditching them.
But all clothing brands are not made alike – a number of sustainable fashion labels are combatting the fast-fashion giants of the world with eco-friendly, ethical practices that have the long-term in mind. One such label is RANT Clothing. Initially established in 2003 by founder Sarah Garrett-Hodoniczky with the goal of starting up a business that was local, sustainable and flexible, co-owner Jason Hodoniczky says it’s the entire process – from materials to manufacturing – that utilises sustainable resources, and unlike the litany of fast-fashion retailers that source their materials and productions from far and wide, this brand prioritises local production.
“Producing locally is central to sustainable practices we think as all the excess shipping and packaging is removed from our supply chain,” Jason says. “We also source our knit fabrics from Australian manufacturers, so we know the environmental standards will be upheld in their manufacturing, especially when it applies to things like waste water.”
Jason says their sustainable water use has an added benefit for shoppers.
“The harvested rainwater is used to prewash most of our garments so any shrinkage has already taken place, that way our customers known exactly what their garment will be like after the first wash!”
RANT Clothing’s production process also challenges the fast-fashion norms around the use of damaging chemicals and wasteful materials which get into our oceans, instead opting for a green alternative.
“By producing locally, we also have direct responsibility for our textile waste so are able to make clever use of small offcuts in-house. In terms of our home studio, we harvest rainwater and have solar power, so are largely self-sufficient for our energy and water needs,” Jason says. “Finally, our fabrics are all made from natural fibres, so will biodegrade unlike synthetics that also pollute our waterways every time you wash them.”
The fast-fashion industry is well known for following unsustainable practises when it comes to materials, chemicals and dyes, with the resulting pollution a particularly insidious element of the production process. The colours, dyes and chemicals used in the finishing stage take a 3% slice of the global emissions output and contribute 20% of the world’s water pollution. Just one kilo of cotton requires 20, 000 litres of water to make, meaning that one shirt you bought might have used up 2700 litres of water that could have kept a person hydrated for nearly 3 years! So, it's worth taking into consideration where you're buying your clothes and how they're sourcing the materials.
How can you reduce your fashion footprint?
Kate Hill, author, speaker and founder of Ethically Kate, says one of the first steps to making sustainable choices is to change our shopping patterns and attitudes toward clothing.
“Do a wardrobe audit of what you already have, because it’s highly likely you don’t need to buy new clothes,” Kate says. “Repair things properly, rent, borrow, swap, buy second-hand, use places like The Greenhub and Ethical Made Easy which are great online fashion directories to find better brands doing good stuff.
“Slow down on consumption – fast fashion is fast, so the antidote is slow.”
The New Zealand-based educator, activist and influencer has long been passionate about sustainability, revealing that it started well before she began Ethically Kate.
“I grew up in a family who were relatively environmentally and socially conscious compared to my peers and other families,” she says. “I also watched the documentary, The True Cost, which is about the fashion industry’s impact on the planet, and about sustainable fashion and fast fashion, and that really hit me hard.
“From there I wanted to better my wardrobe decisions and started asking questions about where does my food come from, where does my food go?”
In her latest book, Better, Bolder, Different, Kate shares a litany of tips and tricks people can use to reduce their impact on the planet and commit to a more sustainable way of life – from fashion to food, transport and health. One of her best pieces of advice centres around our attitude to fashion. Kate says it’s time to change the way we look at clothes – starting with the need to keep up with the latest trends.
“Just slowing down and changing the culture around the fact that we need to wear new things and look new all the time,” Kate says. “We can’t just swap our current purchasing habits for sustainably made stuff; we actually need to change the way we’re shopping.”
It’s why buying fewer clothes that will last longer can help reduce the amount of clothing that winds up in landfill. RANT Clothing’s Jason says the label’s quality and long-lasting materials prevent the need for frequent shopping – and he’s also got a few handy tips for shoppers looking to reduce their impact on the planet.
“It really comes down to 2 important things which are already on care labels! Look for what the clothing is made from (avoid synthetics) and see where your garment is made,’ he says. “Other than this the other important thing is to buy clothes with the intent on wearing them out. You are much more likely to look after your clothes well if you are buying something you treasure, and extend the life as much as possible by repairing/mending when possible also.”
Take a look at RANT Clothing's inspired designs and full range of ethically-made clothing, and learn more about Sarah and Jason’s long-term goals for sustainability over at their website HERE.
You’ll find Kate Hill speaking anywhere from the TEDx stage to workplaces and high schools, with the goal of educating the new generation around sustainable practises. Learn more about what she does as a speaker, author and influencer HERE.